Cpl. Andrew Grenon, or G-Man, as he was affectionately referred to by his comrades, was a light-hearted 23-year-old who made friends wherever he went. An avid sportsman, if Andrew wasn’t in the field playing baseball throughout his school years, you could find him in a local rink or cheering for his favourite team, the Montreal Canadiens, in his hometown of Windsor. His sportsmanship and desire to succeed in his athletic endeavours helped him excel in the fields of basic training when he signed on with the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry Battle Group at the ripe age of 19.

Stationed in Shilo, MB, Cpl. Grenon brought a little piece of home with him when he moved to the barracks; a professional juggler set – a long time hobby of his that came in handy if he ever needed to pass the time. With his talent, his sense of humour, and his affable personality, he quickly built a rapport with his fellow stationed soldiers, creating a lasting camaraderie that served him well, especially when he began his first tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2006. Throughout his first tour, Cpl. Grenon saw the humanity in the communities he spent time in and became a supporter of those who sought peace despite the injustice around them.

During his second tour he received a Canadian Expeditionary Force Commander’s Commendation Award for bravery by preventing a local riot and saving the lives of two soldiers.

Penned during his first tour, Cpl. Grenon wrote the following poem, which displayed his passion to serve a higher purpose and drove him to sign for a second tour of duty in 2008.

By Eileen Brettner

Why We Fight
By Andrew Grenon

I’ve often asked myself why we are here. Why my government actually agreed to send troops to this God-forsaken place. There are no natural resources. No oil, gold, or silver. Just people.

People who have been at war for the last 40 plus years. People who want nothing more than their children to be safe. People who will do anything for money; even give their own life.

I look into the eyes of these people. I see hate, destruction and depression. I see love, warmth, kindness and appreciation.

Why do we fight?

For in this country, there are monsters. Monsters we could easily fight on a different battlefield, at a different time. Monsters that could easily take the fight to us.

Surrounding these mud walls and huts is a country in turmoil. A country that is unable to rebuild itself. A country that cannot guarantee a bright future for its youth.

Why do we fight?

Because, if we don’t fight today, on THIS battlefield, then our children will be forced to face these monsters on our own battlefield.

I fight because I’m a soldier.

I fight because I’m ordered.

I fight, so my children won’t have to.

Portrait by Susan Abma